Ancient, but Well-known Medicinal Plant that belongs in everyone’s kitchen today.
Native to Africa, Aloe Vera is a hardy succulent that’s easy to grow inside or outside of your own home. It thrives in poor soil and requires very little water. Spiny-edged light green Aloe plants can grow to two feet and eventually produce snowy, reddish inflorescence. Keeping an aloe plant in your kitchen could come in handy for the following health benefits.
- Heals Burns – Hormones: Auxins and gibberellins that help in wound healing and have anti-inflammatory action. According to one clinical trial, Aloe could reduce 1st and 2nd-degree burns by 9 days.
- Digestive Aid: It provides 12 anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds traditionally known as a laxative. Latex is a sticky yellow residue found just under the skin of the leaf. This key compound responsible for this effect is called aloin and emodin.
- Aloin and Emodin compounds also act as analgesics, antibacterial and antiviral agents. Effect of Aloin in medical studies suggests inactivation of Herpes simplex, varicella zoster, and influenza.
- Fatty acids: It yields 4 plant steroids; cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol and lupeol. All these have anti-inflammatory action and lupeol also possesses antiseptic and analgesic properties.
- High in vitamins: such as A, C, E, Folic acid, Choline, B1, B2, B3, B6 and even B12.
- Minerals – It provides calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc. They are essential for the proper functioning of various enzyme systems in different metabolic pathways and few are antioxidants.
- Enzymes – Aloe contains 8 enzymes: allinase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulose, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase helps to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically, while others help in the breakdown of sugars and fats.
- 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids. It also contains salicylic acid that possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Lignin, an inert substance, when included in topical preparations, enhances the penetrative effect of the other ingredients into the skin. Saponins that are the soapy substances form about 3% of the gel and have cleansing and antiseptic properties. The amino acids also soften hardened skin cells and zinc acts as an astringent to tighten pores. Thus, it improves skin integrity, decreases the appearance of fine wrinkles, soothes eczema and has an anti-acne effect.
- Antiseptic effect –Aloe Vera contains 6 antiseptic agents: Lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols, and sulfur. They all have an inhibitory action on fungi, bacteria, and viruses.-Wow!’’Lowers Blood sugar – 1996 Clinical trial reports 72 diabetic women without drug therapy were administered one tablespoon of Aloe Vera gel or placebo for 6 weeks. Blood glucose and serum triglyceride levels were significantly decreased with Aloe Vera.
- Lowers Blood sugar – 1996 Clinical trial reports 72 diabetic women without drug therapy were administered one tablespoon of Aloe Vera gel or placebo for 6 weeks. Blood glucose and serum triglyceride levels were significantly decreased with Aloe Vera treatment.
Yet, there are more home remedies:
- Shaving cream – use it instead of the store bought for dual action of moisturizer.
- Aftershave – apply right after shaving to soothe and condition the skin.
- Dandruff and itchy scalp shampoo. Aloe has pH of 4.3, making it excellent for skin and hair preparations.
- Mouth wash – reduces dental plaque and treats mouth ulcers as effective as a steroid medication.
- Reduces dental plaque and as effective as chlorhexidine oral solution.
- Aloin again, a natural sunscreen that blocks as much as 30 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
- Eye makeup remover – enough said.
Conclusion: Grow this herb and use it! For external use, cut the leaf from the plant at its base. A clear gel will ooze from the fresh wound, but it will quickly heal. Stored in the refrigerator, the leaf will keep for several weeks, always ready when needed. Apply gel from the leaf or the leaf itself to affected skin.
For internal use, find freshly preserved aloe juice-available at most natural foods stores. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.
My simple daily intake: Mix gel with juice to make it taste better. Add whole leaves to smoothies. Why not? I do so.
Until next time,
Luda, at PlantsandBeyond.com
Disclosure: The images used in this post (including the Header Image) do not belong to plantsandbeyond.